Unity Mitford and Hitler c.1935
The Second World War (generally 1936-45) can be seen as part of a larger, century-long war (1912-2022) that affects us all now. The Ukraine conflict is a part of it: a social catastrophe without end. The single most significant man in it was an infantryman grunt in the war's early stages: a young non-commissioned officer shot-up in combat and decorated six times. He saw his regiment lose 80% of its strength in one senseless battle after another. In a military hospital when Germany surrendered for the first time (1918), he entered politics. In 15 years he would be Chancellor of the Third German Reich. This was Adolf Hitler. This guy's power is so profound he influences politics to this very day; even the term hate-speech was invented on his account. It is nearly impossible to find a rational conversation about him. Recently a pro athlete tweeted he'd like to have dinner with Hitler just to ask him a few questions. The twitter mob came down hard and the poor kid had to bend the knee and grovel. Quite literally, no one may say a good word about Hitler. Many references to him will state that he is the most evil man in the history of the world; including Caligula, Tamerlane the Conqueror, or anyone else you can think of. Everything about him is demonized as a symbolic malevolent evil in the public mind. Anybody who wants to talk about the war and Hitler's role in it (which was immense) has to see the conflict in pathological terms. This is the biggest problem. The premise is that Hitler was insane; a homicidal and genocidal maniac, a demiurge of evil; often visibly frothing from the mouth, the spittle dribbling onto his chin and disheveled food-stained tunic. This vision makes the war's incomprehensible destruction seem worthwhile: for the man who led the perpetrators was not only insane, but the single most despicable character in the whole history of the world; the epitome of iniquity.
Unity Mitford had five sisters including Lady Diana. Some older Americans might remember one of them: Jessica Mitford wrote an expose' of the funeral industry; The American Way of Death (1963). Their father was David Bertram Ogilvy Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale. He was well-to-do. His six amazing daughters never worked a day in their lives. This gave them plenty of time to think about things; which is what Classical Greeks thought to be the object of life. Industrialization made us forget about all that. Anyway, Jessica was a communist but her younger sisters Diana and Unity decided that fascism was the way to go. Lady Diana was a literary critic, editor and author. There are some interesting interviews with her on the Web. Astounding beautiful until the day she died at 93; she set her sights on Sir Oswald and he had no choice but to fall in love with her. Diana then took Unity in tow and they both attended the 1933 Nazi Party rally at Nuremberg.
Unity and Lady Diana out on the town
Enthralled by the spectacle, Unity decided that Hitler was the man for her. Rather amazingly she got her man.
Unity Valkyrie Mitford and der F├... ▒hrer
Unlike dozens of other German cities, the World War didn't turn Munich into rubble. The city center is still pretty much like it was in 1933. Unity got herself an apartment and registered for German classes at the University of Munich. Since German is very similar to her own lingo, she picked it up quickly.
Unity in Munich
Hitler would spend every other weekend in Munich and so Unity set out to meet the object of her affection. She hung out at a corner table in the Osteria, day in and day out, hovering like a bird of prey. After nine months of her making eyes at him, der F├... ▒hrer was finally moved to ask: who's the babe? It was love at first discourse and they became inseparable. The Fat Man also confided to Spade: Talking isn't something you can do judiciously unless you keep in practice. Hitler was in complete accord. In Unity he found his ideological soulmate. Eva Braun was put on the back-burner and tried, halfheartedly, to kill herself; something one of Hitler's earlier girlfriends, the delightful Geli Raubal, had sadly accomplished in utter despair. Geli just wanted to have fun and Hitler, fearing her laugh, infectious personality and beauty was too attractive for life, kept her isolated in a Munich apartment. He drove the poor girl crazy. Eva was more subdued, but she too just wanted to do girly things. Quite differently, Unity knew all the ins and outs of National Socialist dogma. Since that often depended on who last spoke; she frequently knew what Hitler was thinking before he did. She became his constant companion for the next five years. On the Ides of March 1938 Hitler stood on a Hapsburg imperial balcony and addressed a 250,000-strong throng at the Vienna Heldenplatz after Anschluss. This was the single most important day in Hitler's life. The unification of Germany and Austria was the object of German political action for more than a century and he'd done it. Standing right up there with him on the balcony, among others, was Unity Valkyrie Mitford.
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